How to ride the new wave of immune therapies | Prof Brendon Coventry and Jill O’Donnell-Tormey PhD Show the Way

Good news on cancer: There is a definite change in the wind! The face of oncology is changing. Both cancer patients and oncologists are undergoing a cancer metamorphosis. Treatments are moving – albeit slowly from a killing cancer focus to a focus on retraining the body’s own immune system to seek and destroy cancer cells.

Good news on cancer: There is a definite change in the wind! The face of oncology is changing. Both cancer patients and oncologists are undergoing a cancer metamorphosis. Treatments are moving – albeit slowly from a killing cancer focus to a focus on retraining the body’s own immune system to seek and destroy cancer cells.

Riding the wave of new immune therapies. Pic: ABC News
Riding the wave of new immune therapies. Pic: ABC News

Last week on Navigating the Cancer Maze internet radio Prof Brendon Coventry spoke about cancer vaccines and in particular about his success treating advanced melanoma.

He also spoke about the importance of measuring a patient’s immune cycle as a new approach to that value-adds to the “New Wave” of immunotherapy treatments against cancer.

Click here to listen to that interview if you missed it – (live streaming or download on itunes to listen later at no cost).

Questions from cancer patients clearly demonstrate a thirst for knowledge about immune therapies.

Therefore – today – I have replayed my interview from mid last year(2014) with Cancer Research Institute’s CEO Jill O’Donnell-Tormey PhD.  Click Jill’s name to be redirected to the interview on Voice America internet radio. In this interview Jill provided a clear picture of where immune therapies are headed and what they actually do and where you can find trials and treatments.
VISIT:  http://www.theanswertocancer.org/

Jill talks about the new immunotherapy pharmaceuticals – an innovative class of drugs that block PD-1.  (Stands for programmed cell death protein 1). PD-1 inhibitors, activate the immune system to attack tumors and are therefore used to treat cancer.  These drugs have complex names such as nivolumab successfully used in non-small-cell lung cancer, melanoma, and renal-cell cancer; Pembrolizumab; intended for use in treating metastatic melanoma; to name but a few. Then there are CTLA-4 antibodies such as Ipilimumab; a fully human, monoclonal antibody that overcomes CTLA-4–mediated T-cell suppression to enhance the immune response against tumors.

Anti-PD-1 and Anti-PD-L1 Antibodies – Unlike CTLA-4 antibodies, the PD-1/PD-L1 antibodies aim to potentiate the antitumor T-cell response at a tumor-specific level, by impairing the interaction of the inhibitory receptor PD-1 on T cells with PD-L1 expressed on tumor cells

Cancer patients as well as doctors and oncologists are having to learn a new language and a new way of thinking about cancer. The process is slow – but the most important people in cancer medicine –  patients; need to know the basics and what to ask of their oncologists because these new immune drugs, cancer vaccines and immune timing of treatments, appears to hold the key to curing cancers.

As I see it – the only caution right now is that patients may be rushing to overseas alternative clinics who promote the new elaborate cocktails of immune therapies. Skill and experience is required in using these new immune treatments- best to ask an expert.

Now – back to Prof Coventry and Martin Ashdown’s work for some additional information….
There are many studies that demonstrate that conclusions made by Prof Brendon Coventry and Martin Ashdown that propose that our immune system has a rhythm that can be measured especially when a patient has advancing cancer.

T lymphocytes (orange colour) assembling to kill cancer
T lymphocytes (orange colour) assembling to kill cancer

 It is known that Cytokines (cell signalling molecules that aid cell to cell communication in immune responses and stimulate the movement of cells towards sites of inflammation, infection and trauma), are crucial mediators for shaping immune responses. Cytokines are important regulators of both the innate and adaptive immune response.

The following from the Journal of Immunology Research 2014 – states that Several parameters of the immune system exhibit oscillations with a period of approximately 24 hours that refers to “circadian rhythms.” Such daily variations in host immune system status might evolve to maximize immune reactions at times when encounters with pathogens are most likely to occur. However, the mechanisms behind circadian immunity have not been fully understood. Recent studies reveal that the internal time keeping system “circadian clock” plays a key role in driving the daily rhythms evident in the immune system. Importantly, several studies unveil molecular mechanisms of how certain clock proteins (e.g., BMAL1 and CLOCK) temporally regulate expression of cytokines. Since cytokines are crucial mediators for shaping immune responses, this review mainly summarizes the new knowledge that highlights an emerging role of the circadian clock as a novel regulator of cytokines. Continue reading “Review Article
Temporal Regulation of Cytokines by the Circadian Clock” at: http://www.hindawi.com/journals/jir/2014/614529/

Research such as the above; should encourage us to support the important work on immune synchronization and timing of cancer treatments recently pioneered by Prof Brendon Coventry (and Martin Ashdown) as featured on my internet radio show: Navigating the Cancer Maze 23 January 2015; please see interviews and links below.

Biological_clock_human_svgProfessor Coventry’s first interview listed on the Science show with Robin Williams was broadcast : Saturday 17 April 2010 !! At last there is an intervention that can positively impact outcomes of treatments and that is relatively non invasive (apart from a series of blood tests over a 2 week period).

The information graphed from results can tell you when your window of opportunity for optimum response from your cancer treatments will be. It is my hope that patients will take the time to read and understand the research on both the immune system and immune synchronization of cancer treatments and its exciting implications and begin to ask for their immune systems rhythm to be measured and evaluated.

Prof Brendon Coventry Adelaide, South Australia
Prof Brendon Coventry Adelaide, South Australia

Prof Brendon Coventry says immune system rhythm, may be a fundamental discovery. Implications are better health and reduced costs for the health system. A survey showed that tumours disappear completely in just 7% of patients when treated with chemotherapy. Did the time of administering chemotherapy have an effect? Daily blood measurements show fluctuation in inflammatory markers in the blood. A cycle emerged. It’s now thought the immune system is being regulated, being switched on and off against the tumour. The periodicity is roughly 7 days. This matters, as hitting the immune system with chemicals when it isn’t receptive might be ineffective.

For more information visit the following URLs

Melanoma Study:

http;//www.immunotherapyofcancer.orgcontentpdf2051-1426-2-9.pdf

Immune System pulsing – Timing of Treatment

Martin Ashdown Window of Opportunity1

Be a particicipant in the medicines and approaches that could save your life!

until next time…..
Grace

Why Innovative Oncology is an Effective Way to Tackle Cancer

Today on Navigating the Cancer Maze I speak with Prof Brendon Coventry about melanoma and in particular, vaccines against melanoma. But more than a melanoma treatment, Cancer Vaccines are showing up as not only as a part of innovative and integrated oncology approaches; but as likely treatments for other types of cancers that have failed conventional treatments such as radiation and chemotherapy protocols.

Today on Navigating the Cancer Maze I speak with Prof Brendon Coventry about melanoma and in particular, vaccines against melanoma. But more than a only a melanoma treatment, Cancer Vaccines are showing up as not only as a part of innovative and integrated oncology approaches; but as likely treatments for other types of cancers that have failed conventional treatments such as radiation and chemotherapy protocols. For example Jeffrey Deslandes, who after 4 recurrences of NH lymphoma – found his success with cancer vaccines. He is 9 years clear of the disease.

Prof Brendon Coventry with Grace Gawler
Prof Brendon Coventry with Grace Gawler

 The combination of Surgical Oncologist  in combination with a PhD in Immunology – is rare; but this is what Prof Coventry brings to the cancer “treatment table”. He has many years experience in cancer research, vaccine therapies and the role of the immune system in cancer control.

To Listen to audio of show – 4 sessions – select  each link below

Listen to Navigating the Cancer Maze-with Prof Brendon Coventry

Sessions one to four  with

Remember the show is for you and sponsored by our charity – The Grace Gawler Institute. It is free to air and free to listen live streaming within an hour of live broadcast. It is archived indefinitely on my Voice America Page. Crucial to the shows intention – to educate patients and families about the availability of  scientifically valid cancer treatments and safe and effective complementary medicine; we ask that you forward the ecard (available on the website) or URL to those you know who are trying to navigate the increasingly complex cancer maze.

Every week, some 160,000 people die of advanced cancer around the world, despite our best attempts at cancer treatment globally. Some $32 billion is being spent on oncology drugs and the USA National Cancer Institute/ NIH spends about $5.2 billion on cancer research, per annum. Sadly, cancer has remained a tremendously costly public health problem of major proportions for over 5 decades, and our progress has been puzzling slow towards solving this using standard methods.

On today’s show, Navigating the Cancer Maze, my guest Professor Brendon Coventry, an Adelaide-based oncology surgeon suggests there may be another way to approach the problem and shows that the immune system my hold the answer. With a special interest in Melanoma Surgery, he is a clinical researcher whose interests include anti-tumour immune response in human malignancies, tumour Immunology and cancer vaccine treatments.

His group’s research paper, published in 2014, entitled “Vaccinia Melanoma Cell Lysate Vaccine (VMCL) Trial for treatment of advanced Stage IV Melanoma with and without Chemotherapy”, captured the attention of medical and scientific community. Trial conclusions reported high complete response rates (where all cancer disappears) of 17%, with useful clinical responses occurring in nearly 80% of patients overall (slowing the disease), and over 15% of patients experiencing survivals past 5-years, with essentially no toxicity. The longest survivor now remains alive for over 14 years. These response rates and survivals are unusual for advanced melanoma. The researchers reason that the repetitive and prolonged delivery of the vaccine therapy might hold part of the clue, because this was a strikingly different approach to that used in other trials.

At this weeks Meeting of Minds in Brisbane Prof Coventry with Grace Gawler and Martin Ashdown
At this weeks Meeting of Minds in Brisbane (LtoR) Martin Ashdown with Grace Gawler and Prof Coventry

Prof Coventry with colleague Martin Ashdown, have now developed a remarkable understanding of how the human immune system continuously oscillates in a dynamic fashion. The timing of ‘when’ the therapy dose is precisely delivered in synchrony with each individual patient’s own immune system waveform or cycle might hold the very key to improving cancer treatment, thus leading to better survival.

Martin Ashdown says: …..”The concept of immune monitoring and accurately synchronizing therapy (immune synchronization), brings a new level of science to oncology. The published mouse experiments and human clinical trials, together with our knowledge of physiology tells us this is the way forward, particularly with the new cancer immunotherapies. This approach potentially has the triple benefit of increasing efficacy, lowering toxicity and substantially reducing the cost of treatment”

Professor Brendon Coventry is well crendentialled

Professor Brendon Coventry BMBS, PhD, FRACS, FACS, FRSM is an Associate Professor of Surgery at the University of Adelaide and Senior Consultant Surgeon (General, Breast-Endocrine, Surgical Oncology & Trauma Surgery) at the Royal Adelaide Hospital since 1993.

He holds a PhD in cancer immunology.

Positions:
• Immediate Past Chairman, Surgical Oncology Section, Royal Australasian College of Surgeons;
• Research Director, Australian Melanoma Research Foundation & Board Member;
• Past Chairman, Melanoma and Skin Cancer Group, Clinical Oncological Society of Australia;
• Foundation Chairman, Multidisciplinary Melanoma Management Group, Royal Adelaide Hospital
• Senior Examiner, Australian Medical Council
• Board Member of Cancer Care Centre, Unley

Fellowships:
• Royal Australasian College of Surgeons,
• American College of Surgeons
• Royal Society of Medicine.

Research:
• Over 85 journal publications; including New England Journal of Medicine, British Journal of Cancer, Journal of Clinical Oncology, Lancet Oncology; widely published topics including surgical treatment for melanoma and breast cancer, sentinel node surgery, sarcoma surgery, adjuvant radiation therapy, melanoma vaccine therapies,laparoscopic spleen surgery techniques, neuroscience, microscopic methods, high-sensitivity tissue immunochemistry, public health,
medical education, internet learning.
• NIH Principal Investigator: Multicenter Selective Lymphadenectomy Trial (MSLT-I) surgical sentinel node; C-Vax melanoma vaccine studies (x2).
• Editor-in-Chief, 7-Volume international textbook series “Surgery: Complications, Risks and Consequences” published by Springer; general adult, paediatric and cardio-vascular surgery.
Current Research:
• Surgical Complications, Safety and Quality improvement
• Vaccine Therapies for Advanced Melanoma, novel findings from repetitive dosing where 5-year survival and Complete Response rates have been significantly improved
• Timing of Therapies is novel collaborative work with Martin Ashdown concerning serial blood biomarker monitoring for advanced cancer patients for more accurate timing to improve therapy dose delivery and clinical efficacy further, which is gaining recognition

 

More on Vaccine successes – listen to Jeffrey Deslandes interviewed on Juice radio – Gold Coast yesterday 16 January 2015. https://soundcloud.com/juice-107-3/cancer-survivor-jeffrey-deslandes

Sometimes we can’t make financial donations for a cause – but we can use the internet, emails social media and word of mouth to help bring about change. Patient demand through critical need will make a difference- but voices are required! Please spread the word about this interview and the show and make your contribution to change the paradigm of treating cancer for the benefit of humanity.

Until next time
Grace